Two years ago, in order to get better at my craft, I decided to read a book on film criticism. I went over to Amazon, typed in "Film Critic" and quickly realized there was no book by that name. "Huh", I thought to myself, "Why don't I just write a book called "Film Critic?" So that's exactly what I did.
Fast-forward from the genesis of the idea to the execution, things worked out far better than I ever could have expected:
So, as you'd guess, I was highly tempted to rest on my laurels. And rest I did, for a solid year. Then I googled "Film Critic Movie". Wanna guess what came up? I'll give you a hint ... nothing resembling a movie. Which left the field wide open for this guy (I'm this guy)!
Last summer I was in the successfully Kickstarted film Whoop Dreamswith the crew from FilmDrunk.com, Vince Mancini, Ben Kaplan, and Matt Lieb, all filmed and edited by Tall Tale Productions. Naturally, I decided all of them needed to be heavily involved again, and they readily agreed. Born ready, those guys.
You may also know me from my twice-weekly podcast (also extremely well-reviewed on iTunes!) with Brad Brevet of RopeofSilicon.com, which will allow me to get the word out and give updates - made all the better by Brad making fun of me!
Now, about that adaptation, in the grand style of all adaptations ever, it will have very little to do with the book. Oh, some of the situations will seem eerily familiar, but Film Critic: The Movie will be a comedy about a passion, whereas "Film Critic: Los Book" was part memoir, part "how-to", and fully "Laremy propaganda". The film will give me a much better chance to make fun of myself, to play the fool, and (hopefully) to force my fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms to help me produce a great comedy. You know, for laughter. Doesn't anybody remember laughter?
You know what Film Critic: The Movie will be? Just a little something to break the monotony of all those hardcore superhero films that have gotten to be a little bit out of control. But how are we gonna get there? What are the specifics of getting this choo-choo train of hilarity rolling?
Let's talk ...
Naturally, I'll be incurring plenty of costs on this project, unless my Kickstarter page makes the Drudge Report as a "Hollywood elite scum project!" That said, if the project does find funding, here is a rough sketch of the finances.
Production Crew: I plan on using Tall Tale Productions, the fine people who produced/directed/edited Whoop Dreams for a significant portion of the shooting. They do great work, so it seems only fair to throw a few of the dolla dolla bills their way. When Tall Tale isn't involved, we'll be doing a mix of local production crews and straight up guerrilla filmmaking. Expected Spend: $3000
Which leads nicely to ...
Gear: I have some of the needed equipment, but it couldn't hurt to add a few lenses and an alternate camera for multiple shots. Probably a rental in here too, in terms of lights or backdrops. Expected Spend: $3500
Actors: I believe in paying people for a hard day's work, so I'll be paying scale for what studios call a "super low budget production". No one will get rich, or die trying, but they'll at least be able to buy a new pair of pumas to wear to parties. Expected Spend: $3500
Music Clearances: I've had a vision of the soundtrack for a long time, and I'm hopeful that the fact that the artists I want are relatively unknown will cut down on costs. However, as music companies are the devil, I reserve the right to just play the kazoo for some of the songs. Don't tempt me, music royalty people! Expected Spend: $2500
Travel:I plan on shooting in five locations, more on that below, which is going to place a strain on the budget. Hopefully I can use miles for some of this, but with an extremely tight shooting schedule comes rather difficult travel arrangements. I'll be staying with friends and loved ones for most of the filming locations (whether they know it or not) but the airfare might be somewhat pricey once added all together. Expected Spend:$3000
Post Production, Festivals, Other: Applying to film festivals takes money, as do editing bays and possible lo-fi advertising. I already own the needed URLS, so that's taken care of. Food on set, props, penicillin, you name it, I've probably forgotten it, and thus we'll need it. Expected Spend: $2000
Now, if you add up all of those dollars, it equals more than our goal, I realize, and this is on the highly conservative side of budgeting. Still, we'll be grateful and likely crying with joy just to make it to $12,000. But if we somehow make more than our goal? Well then, I'll be detailing exactly what we're going to do with the extra money via Kickstarter updates, as well as introducing some tasty stretch goals. Could this mean CGI? A guest appearance from Smaug the Dragon? Dare to dream!
Risks and challenges
We'll be shooting in five locations, which on the face of it seems bonkers, but if you really dive into the decision, it's far more bonkers than it is at first blush. Here the locations, and why I'm using them:
San Francisco: To weave in Matt Lieb (as a therapist, naturally) and Vince Mancini (as the arch-villain beret-wearing foil film critic).
Chicago: For the "team" aspect of the film. I won't say much other than to think "The Office" (BBC version).
Miami: Movie junkets will be explored in-depth in Miami. Oh yes.
Seattle: I have to shoot in my home town, no way around that. Characters such as the "Publicist" and "The Love Interest" should expect to make an appearance here.
Singapore: Gotta have Ben Kaplan! He's to be a film critic agent, because we definitely need those, and the exotic backdrop of Singapore will be just what the film doctor ordered.
All of these locations will be a challenge, in one way or another, but the five-way segmented script is actually a much easier way to film. For instance, I only need seven to ten usable minutes from Asia, and another ten to fifteen from Florida. Over the course of two to three days, this should be doable! At least that's what I tell myself, late at night, when I'm quivering like a boy just deluged by a hailstorm.
In reality, having interviewed dozens of wonderful directors, and been on a set or two, I've picked up a few tricks that normal filmmakers wouldn't necessarily have in their bag. Additionally, I've got a great set of resources at the ready to criticize everything I do - that's what running in a pack of wild film aficionados entitles you to!
That's two questions, but they both can be answered in the fellest of swoops. The "Film Critic" world is just a great way to get into comedy. Much as with "Best in Show", it was never about real people, it was about legit JOKES. Everyone likes jokes, even the people who hate critics.
As for those people, well, let's just say they need more love in their life!
I will email you a frame-worthy photo of me giving you a thumb's up. Maybe both thumbs, but no promises. Two thumbs is my full allotment of thumbs. Hey, also, thanks for your contribution. I appreciate it!
Keep hitting refresh on that email box, because you'll be getting a high definition video of me giving you a nod. This nod will be full of feeling and gratitude. You will enjoy it this nod like none other.
This is a nice amount of money to give someone, so I'm grateful. Let me give you something in return, friend of friends! How's about a .pdf version of the script to your email after principal filming has been completed? That way, you can read the words and build up loads of anticipation!
Well thanks much for being so generous! Here, let me set you with a little something something to show for your kindness. You'll be getting a signed greeting card, chosen for you personally by myself, to your home address. This greeting card will feature 1) A haiku & 2) Some form of well-wishing. Note: This card will not necessarily tie into anything else happening in your life, as Laremy often gives people "Get well soon!" cards on their birthday.
Local? Fancy a ticket to the screening in Seattle? There will be so much merriment you won't know what to do with yourself! Come on down! Note: if you want two tickets, there's an option below, bring a date, I'd love to meet the sort of people generous folks hang out with.
Don't live in Seattle but want to have the film with you at all times? This reward level entitles you to a blu-ray copy of the film, plus a .pdf copy of the script! If you want the digital download of the film, I'll throw that in as well, just because we're close like that.
This is just getting ridiculous, did you rob a bitcoin bank? Regardless, I never look a gift horse (or really any horse) in the mouth, and I
don't plan on starting now. Soooo, how about a chat! Fancy a chat? Five minutes, on Skype, at a mutually agreeable time. We can talk about your writing, or movies, or how to train an attack puggle. Really, the sky is the limit. You can do a lot in five minutes.
Because this is the $42 level, my favorite number in the whole wide world, it's getting a slightly ridiculous reward. An .mp3 of me signing you a little ditty! It could be about you, or a Lionel Richie song, or whatever request you'd like to make. It will only be about a minute long, just like the podcast, because my voice gives out, but it will be a very special keepsake. A haiku is also on the way, plus the digital download. Honestly, I wish I could buy this one for myself.
Seriously though, you're a gem. Chances are you're a blood relative at this level, or at least an honorary one. You will be receiving a signed (paperback) version of the script. Perfect for holiday gift-giving!
You will also be receiving a signed (paperback) version of the script. Perfect for holiday gift-giving! But I've also got a very special "Film Critic: The Movie" t-shirt headed your way, you'll be the hit of any party. PLUS Digital download!
I'm fairly certain I've never even seen $75 in real life, so I want to do something special for you. As I can't offer back-rubs anymore, how's about a signed (paperback) version of the script, PLUS a signed (paperback) version of the original source material, "Film Critic" The Book", PLUS a little chart showing all the differences that occurred during the adaptation!
Welcome to bonkers generous, population: you! For a C-Note (or "lincoln" as they're known in the "biz") I've got to take really good care of you as potentially, at some point, we'll be on a flight together and I'll need you not to recline your seat onto my knees. You will be entitled to a limited edition signed hardcover of "The Making of Film Critic: The Movie". Perfect for your coffee table, ottoman, or really large sheepdog!
You'll receive a special thanks at the end of the film! Will your name play before the (mandatory) end credits sequel scene? Of course. But you'll also get the signed paperback script as well as the original book the film was (extremely loosely) based up, "Film Critic". PLUS Digital Download! What a reward level this turned out to be!
Oh dear, I think we might need to start combining awards. Hardcover script, hardcover "Making Of", and a signed version of "Film Critic: The Book". Additionally, I'll throw in the greeting card, helpfully slid into one of the books. You'll have to figure out which one, so you're really getting a treasure hunt with this one too!
At this very serious level you're getting a blu-ray copy of the film, alternate digital download, associate producer, and either the coffee table book OR script OR original source material. Your call, and isn't life all about delicious options?
You're now an associate producer of "Film Critic: The Movie". As a fella who has chosen this reward on a few projects, I can tell you it's pretty great to see your name pop up on IMDB when all is said and done. And what if we make a film festival? You could tell your friends and family that you've officially "made it"! Making it is kind of great, isn't it?
Producer level credit! With this sort of pull, you could probably get on the set of "Iron Man 4". Once they cast the new Robert Downey Jr., that is. Hey, do you think I can parlay directing "Film Critic: The Movie" into becoming the new Iron Man? Asking for a friend.
For this amount of silly money I'll come to your hometown and film a scene with you in it. United States only, as I plan to ride the rails like a proper hobo, swooping in with a camera and notes for your big-screen debut! Plus the making off coffee table book, physical script (in book form), and the digital download!
This is too much money to ask of anyone, so you'll pretty much get all of the rewards above. Your own scene, your own named character, all the books, the conversation, the chat (a really long one to determine how you came across $5,000, and how you could maybe teach me to do the same). Producer credit and VIP seats next to me for the screening as well. Entitled to ONE small popcorn and MEDIUM drink. Okay, that's hilarious, let's just make it happen, big-top Pee Wee style for you, the ultimate benefactor.